24 March 2005

Sox Stuff, etc...

Wade Miller recently threw live batting practice for the first time, which, in and of itself, was huge. It was his reaction that was most comforting, as reported in the March 23rd edition of the Boston Globe.

Back on March 9, Wade Miller conceded he'll miss at least one month of the season, to give his rotator cuff sufficient time to mend, and "hopefully come back for the last five months."

Yesterday, he said, "Hopefully, I'll be back before then. The way I've been feeling the last few bullpens, I haven't had any setbacks, and I've been letting the ball go. The biggest thing was the fastball. I've been throwing it where I want to."

Miller intends to throw in a minor league game before the Sox break camp, which is a week from tomorrow. He then plans to travel with the team rather than stay in extended spring training so he can remain under the watch of assistant trainer Chris Correnti.

"Then a rehab assignment, about the time their games begin," Miller said.

That accelerated timetable could allow Miller to make approximately 28 starts. Privately, the Sox have hoped for half a season out of Miller, considering anything more a bonus.

Every single report on Miller has, thus far, been more and more optimistic- which doesn't rule out the hated "setback"- in fact, you have to treat it as a very real and negative possibility.

The truth is, if you rush Wade Miller in any way, you run a great risk of having him for May and June and not for July to September, a bad trade-off to be sure. He appears to be ahead of the proposed schedule, but there would be nothing wrong with simply pushing him back (without much specific medical reason to do so) in order to ensure he's ready. It looks like, by any normal timetable along Miller's current path, May would be his start date, and with as much promise as he brings the rotation, I'd almost rather NOT see him in June if he's "ready" in May. Whenever it is, I'm really looking forward to seeing him pitch for us, regardless.

The Red Sox traded Adam Hyzdu to San Diego for RHP Blaine Neal, ending any thoughts of Hyzdu for the role of Boston's 5th OF. Truth be told, it was a decent move- a power RH relief arm for a career minor leaguer that truthfully didn't have the upside of the Rule V-er Adam Stern (the one the Sox still have).

Neal's not going to be our RH specialist or anything, but he throws hard with a "tight slider"- a good K/BB ratio, but mixed end results. Here's what Baseball Prospectus had to say:

A run of the mill reliever with great velocity and lukewarm results, Neal will likely play out his career fighting for the last spot on pitching staff, usually doing just enough to stay on the roster.

Breakout: 24% Improve: 46% Collapse: 23%

Hopefully Blaine is what it appears Kim is never going to be (Byung Hyun Kim is arguably the most confusing and mysterious failure of a baseball player I can recall)- a decent, though not critical, RH power relief arm. And this way, Hyzdu can have some actual ABs, instead of the very limited role of Boston Red Sox 5th OFer behind Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon and Jay Payton in the depth chart.

It appears official now: the Red Sox announced at a press conference Tuesday that they intend to STAY at Fenway, electing to renovate the old ballpark instead of constructing a new one. Larry Lucchino and John Henry made the announcement at the .406 Club, one of the many areas of Fenway undergoing change.

My initial ambivalence has given way, for the most part, to enthusiasm. As much as a new, state-of-the-art Fenway with comfortable seating with proper sightlines throughout the venue would be ideal, I feel fine saying the Boston Red Sox will be playing their games at Fenway Park for the forseeable future- and with the caveat, apparently, that it will be an ever-improving Fenway.

Optimally, to me, the Red Sox will stay at Fenway, eventually spending one season at Gillette while they do a Yankee Stadium-style renovation on the seating bowl at the Park. Upgrade the comfort, size, and sightlines of the seating while adding (hopefully) a few more. Leave the aesthetics of the Park largely unchanged.

Logically, it appears as though this may be coming to fruition. In addition, the Red Sox have been purchasing property all around the site of the Park, including the old WBZN building, in the interest of expanding services and player amenities.

Finally, it looks like Schilling's rehab is starting to pick up some steam:

"Schill must've come through (Monday) with flying colors because he's got his schedule mapped out until September," Francona joked.

If Schilling's ankle continues to make strides, it's possible that he could be activated shortly after the home opener on April 11.

"You try to be common-sensical about it, (but) it will probably be a few days after that," Francona said. "Right now, I'm upbeat because Schill's chomping at the bit. He wasn't that way a couple of weeks ago."

Sounds like a stark contrast to his previous disappointment and discomfort with early returns throwing. Great news. Hopefully, with his ankle fixed and healed (and not bothering him the entire season like last year), he can be even more effective in '05.

Coming soon to a DVD player in my apartment- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on Criterion Collection DVD. This is Wes Anderson's third Criterion disc, along with the amazing Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums discs. I really can't fucking wait for this- Criterion does just such an immensely exhaustive job on these editions, it's hard not to want to buy every new one that comes out. The packaging, the extras, the transfers, the audio- totally first rate, and they're always such great movies to choose from.

Anyway, this one is coming out (tentatively) May 10th, and it looks great. I'll be, of course, purchasing it. The thing this brings to mind though, in addition to Wes Anderson, is how great the Criterion DVD covers look. I mean, my God they're cool. Here's a list of some of my favorites:

Gimme Shelter
Beastie Boys Video Anthology
The Royal Tenenbaums
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Throne of Blood
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
La Regle de Jeu
Short Cuts
Ashes and Diamonds
F for Fake
Hoop Dreams

The Fear and Loathing one is probably a sentimental favorite.

But regardless, there are some great DVDs coming out soon, which should prove to be ass on my wallet. Seinfeld Season Four comes out on May 1st, as does- drumroll, please-


That's right. Comin' to you, May 1st. After the longest wait, like- ever. Plus, I gotta go get (at some point):

  • Beck- Guero

  • Queens of the Stone Age- Lullabies to Paralyze

  • Fantomas- Suspended Animation

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